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Colonial and Postcolonial Representations

Representations in popular texts
by

Julie Bain

on 19 January 2016

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Transcript of Colonial and Postcolonial Representations

Image by Tom Mooring
Innocent Fun or Alternative motive ?
'King Louie may seem a little bananas, but this swinging orangutan just wants to be like you (and Mowgli too!)'
Disney Wikia
. (2013). San Francisco, accessed 3 Dec. 2013. <http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/King_Louie/>
'I wanna be like you, hoo hoo
I wanna walk like you,
Talk like you...
You see it's true hoo hoo,
An ape like me, hee hee
Can learn to be,
Hu...hu...human too'
Consider the racial undertones of ‘I Wanna Be Like You’. The song is essentially an African-American man in the body of an anthropomorphic ape, singing about his desires to be a man.
This song takes on a colonial stance because it celebrates one race over another proclaiming people should be like the 'white man'. The sanitisation of such racial slurs from a corporate company like Disney helps supports the existence of racism.
Pocahontas
'By negatively describing Native lifestyles and adhering to a "we" versus "they" format, subtle justification is given for subjugation of Indian tribes by so-called "advanced" cultures, in the name of progress.' Pewewardy, C. (1996). 'Journal of Naajo Education'.
The Pocahontas Paradox: A Cautionary Tale For Educators.
'They're Savages! Savages! Barely even human'
By using degrading terms such as 'savages', 'vermin' and 'heathen' the Disney company portray the Powhatan tribe as the Orient and therefore 'Orientalize' them.
'Orientalism can thus be regarded as a manner of regularized (or Orientalized) writing, vision, and study, dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the Orient.' Easthope, A. McGowan, K. (1992)
. A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader
. New York. Open University Press.
This is also apparent in Aladdin. During the beginning of the film, an Arabic man is singing a song called 'Arabian Nights' which features the lyrics '
It's barbaric, but hey, it's home
.'
What does colonisation and postcolonial theory have to do with me?
marginalisation: the social process of becoming or being made marginal (especially as a group within the larger society); "the marginalization of the underclass"
“Every empire, however, tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate."

(Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2003)”
― Edward W. Said
“Despite the variety and the differences, and however much we proclaim the contrary, what the media produce is neither spontaneous nor completely “free:” “news” does not just happen, pictures and ideas do not merely spring from reality into our eyes and minds, truth is not directly available, we do not have unrestrained variety at our disposal.

For like all modes of communication, television, radio, and newspapers observe certain rules and conventions to get things across intelligibly, and it is these, often more than the reality being conveyed, that shape the material delivered by the media. ”
Edward Said
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